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Is Net Neutrality What It Seems?

Speaker redirects the conversation toward what he thinks regulation is meant to do.

Photograph by Erika Craven ’20

Net neutrality was demystified at the “Net Neutrality is Dead, Long Live Net Neutrality” event hosted by BC Law’s Federalist Society on October 9. Speaker Brent Skorup debunked some of the inaccuracies in the net neutrality debate and talked about the government’s role in the matter.

The talk came on the heels of the DC Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision October 1 to uphold the FCC’s decision to repeal various net neutrality protections.

Skorup is a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University who currently serves on the FCC’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee. In his BC Law address, he focused on media coverage and public perception of net neutrality. He said that most of the conversation is hyperbole, and that attention should be redirected to what the future holds for the internet.

Federal net neutrality regulation, he explained, is widely viewed by the public as similar to cable in its bundling of groups of websites and pay packages. In reality, he countered, regulation was about creating modern solutions to issues unforeseen in previous work done by the FCC.

Skorup was introduced by BC Law Professor Daniel Lyons, who has written widely on the topic. He questioned the constitutionality of net neutrality regulation and wondered about its potential to create monopolistic powers.